Lisska Bar & Grill
2665 E. Fifth Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43219
If you do a search for “Lisska Bar & Grill” online, you’ll come up with a smattering of review pages (Facebook, Yelp, OpenTable) and a collection of blog posts from Columbus bloggers like Drink Up Columbus and CMH Gourmand. By and large, the opening lines of every review and post include some reference like “I’ve been driving by this place for years, but I’ve never been in.”
I’ve been driving by this place for years, but I’ve never been in. And if you’ve ever ventured down Fifth Avenue on the east side, you’ve probably spotted the neon sign for Lisska. It’s easy to dismiss as just a dive bar, and it is that, but like most gems, it’s a great story hiding in plain sight.
Lisska first popped onto my radar thanks to Lenny Kolada, owner of Smokehouse Brewing and Commonhouse Ales. He makes regular stops there, and often shares about their breakfast. So I was intrigued. But then Jim from CMH Gourmand and Columbus Brew Adventures said he was contacted by Ginger, someone who’s part of a group that meets every Thursday morning for breakfast. Ginger invited us to breakfast one morning, and Jim and I were happy to join them.
And what I found there, from Ginger and the regulars who meet weekly, was a reminder of why I love breakfast.
The real reason I love breakfast – I mean, the eggs and the bacon and the French toast are great and all – is that it’s a gathering point. It lets you start your day in community with other people. My favorite memories of breakfast growing up are family trips for breakfasts, or spots we discovered on vacation, or catching up with friends in the early hours. Being welcomed by Ginger and company reminded me why I love this meal. We were welcomed in immediately and made to feel like family.
To learn more about their story, read Jim’s post on CMH Gourmand. He captured a lot of the details about Ginger and the regular breakfast crew. Suffice it to say they have a lot of great stories. They started meeting regularly at Lisska five years ago after recognizing the need to actively stay in touch with each other.
Breakfast at Lisska is a casual affair, with the owners taking orders and cooking up your meal.
You’ll have to squint to see the faded lettered menu hanging on the wall above the grill. Breakfast is listed on the right. You can customize your own plate of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, toast, and hash browns, or order a breakfast sandwich.
After we ordered, they dropped off a small corner of coffee cake as a starter. When I asked what it was, they simply said, “Dessert!” Apparently Lisska is also known for their sweets, and the one bite I had of the cinnamon-crumbled coffee cake indicates they know what they’re doing.
In between conversation with Ginger and the breakfast club, I strolled around the space.
Lisska is a dive bar in every sense, but that means it’s chock full of character. If you visit, make sure you take time to explore.
The breakfast was simple, but again – a lovely reminder of why I love this meal. Fried eggs, crispy bacon, well seasoned hash browns. And be sure to order the sausage. It’s a Polish sausage link from Kowalski’s in Detroit, sliced open and grilled. And it’s delicious.
Jim ordered one of their breakfast sandwiches. The menu designates them as BEC (Bacon Egg Cheese), SEC (Sausage Egg Cheese), and HEC (Ham Egg Cheese).
The breakfast club had pulled together a few tables to fit their large group, but there are booths and bar seats, too.
If you grab a seat at the bar, you’ll get to spy out all the signs, photos, and posters plastering the walls.
And if you’ve got time, maybe check out the dessert case…
Ginger commemorated the breakfast with a group photo.
And Jim and I got photos with our wonderful host, too.
Thanks to Ginger and the whole crew for welcoming Jim and I to your table! Looking forward to catching up again soon.